I COULD say the clubs. After all what else is there to do at the midnight hour, unholy to those past their prime (like me), but I won't.
Where you want to be or what you want to do at midnight in a foreign land really depends on what your preference is, which age often dictates. When visiting Taipei for the first time, you can either be cruising the night scene and go club hopping (Xinyi District is quite popular destination) or stay in the hotel to recuperate after a long day of touring the city attractions.
For days, I have been wandering the streets and getting lost in the city, riding trains from one destination to another and climbing flights of stairs to see the metropolis from a high point. To say the least, I was tired. Nighttime was a chance to rest and recharge, and cherish the comforts of the posh hotels I was hosted in, the W Taipei and Shangri-La.
But I was uneasy. You see, I have a list of places to check out and not so much time on my hands. I always want to make the most out of my trips and bring home a story to tell. What to do at midnight in Taipei is one of the stories.
A bookstore. That was where I went at the midnight hour. Surprised?
Eslite Bookstore has become to be a place of interest. It's Taipei’s only 24-hour bookstore and the most popular among its chain.
It was in 1989 when Robert Wu Ching-yu established Eslite and opened its first shop in Dunhua South Road in the Daan District. Its initial focus was selling volumes related to arts and humanities. With the growth of the business, new branches sprouted and the bookstore’s inventory grew to include other titles.
Today, Eslite has 48 branches, a children’s bookstore and four music stores across the city. Setting-up the first and only 24-hour branch attracted the nighttime bookworms. Unique and successful, that’s what this particular branch is.
I had to see it for myself so I got up and walked the empty and totally safe, well-lit avenue (and occasionally encountering late night joggers). Twenty minutes after, I reached the destination.
The bookstore is on the second level of the edifice and spread across floor area are spaces designated for Art & Architecture, Design & Photography, Performing Arts, Humanities & Literature, Business & Languages, Computers and magazines.
It's a very nice bookstore and there are four reasons why it's easy to fall in love with this bookstore. First, and the obvious reason, it’s open 24/7; second, they allow people not only to browse through books but read it as well; and third, readers are allowed to find their spaces in a corner, on the floor and at the designated reading tables; and fourth, there is a cafe within the premises.
I could have stayed, picked a book and do what the book lovers were doing but I was afraid I might doze off. That may not be allowed.
You might chance upon an Eslite Bookstore in Hong Kong. The first Eslite Bookstore out of Taiwan opened in Causeway Bay in 2012. In 2015, it opened another store in Causeway Bay. There’s also an Eslite Bookstoe in China, in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province.
So, if you fancy spending midnight in an unusual manner in Taipei, do visit Eslite Bookstore in the Daan District.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on January 31, 2018.
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